The contact hypothesis states that a person or group is more likely to have a positive attitude towards an outgroup when put into direct contact with a member or several members of an outgroup. Research has shown, however, that simply imagining the contact can illicit the same outcomes in attitude changes. An applied research experiment was conducted to test whether the used of imagined contact scenarios would improve attitudes towards outgroups. Partially replicating an experiment by Bagci, Piyale, Bircek, and Ebcim (2017), seventy-six participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups, including, the control group, the imagined contact group, and the imagined contact with friendship potential group. A self-report questionnaire assessed the dependent variables including outgroup attitudes, behavioral intentions, outgroup trust, perceived threat, and parental trust. After running a one-way ANOVA test on all dependent variables, significant results were found in outgroup attitudes and perceived threat. Pairwise comparison were then conducted between groups, and it was found that there was a significant mean difference between the control group and both experimental groups (imagined contact and imagined contact with friendship potential) of the outgroup attitudes variable and perceived threat variable. However, there was not a significant mean difference between the imagined contact group and imagined contact with friendship potential group in either dependent variable. This partially supported our research hypothesis that imagined contact would improve attitudes toward outgroups when compared to a neutral condition. Future implications of this study may support the use of imagined contact in increasing positive attitudes towards diversity.
Greder, Audrey G.; Kain, Rachel A.; Lutz, Olivia K.; and Miyazaki, Rachel N.
"Why Can't We Be Friends: The Use of Imagined Contact in Changing Negative Attitudes Towards Outgroups,"
The Macksey Journal: Vol. 1
, Article 38.
Available at: https://www.mackseyjournal.org/publications/vol1/iss1/38